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Nexus candidates can journey to Buffalo as Canada, US develop pilot initiatives

A motorist scans a Nexus card as one other speaks with a Canada Border Companies Company officer on the important inspection sales space on the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, BC, on February 5, 2020.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

An tried bid to avoid wasting the troubled Nexus vacationer program between Canada and the US has expanded to the Peace Bridge.

Nexus candidates in Canada can now sit with border brokers on the other facet of the road between Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo, NY, congressman New York Rep. Brian Higgins stated Thursday.

That is a departure from the traditional follow of interviewing US and Canadian brokers on the identical time – a course of that hasn’t occurred on Canadian soil since earlier than the pandemic.

The brand new process on the Peace Bridge crossing is an extension of a pilot undertaking that started in late September on the Thousand Islands crossing between Alexandria Bay, NY, and Lansdowne, Ont., east of Kingston.

In each areas, Nexus candidates in Canada submit to 2 separate interviews: first on the Canadian facet with members of the Canada Border Companies Company, then with US Customs and Border Safety officers on the American facet.

“Border administration has develop into extra difficult than it ought to be,” Higgins stated in an announcement.

“The US and Canada are outdated mates with interconnected economies. We have to discover methods to interrupt down boundaries at our borders to raised assist the circulation of individuals and items between neighbors.”

The pilot undertaking is seen as a partial short-term answer to a bilateral standoff that has led US brokers to refuse to workers Nexus registration facilities on Canadian soil over what they think about insufficient authorized protections.

It is an “necessary stopgap,” Higgins stated, however the truth it is wanted in any respect is proof that each nations have a protracted solution to go earlier than the Nexus returns to its pre-pandemic energy.

He known as it a “reminder that the US and Canada nonetheless want to meet the potential of the settlement reached in 2015 to facilitate the Nexus software process in a clean means for the good thing about each Canadians and Individuals.”

Backlogs of Nexus apps in Canada hit a excessive of 350,000 in early fall, however have slowly declined for the reason that pilot undertaking started. Canada Border Companies Company officers didn’t instantly present an up to date quantity.

Higgins stated as soon as the undertaking is absolutely operational on the Peace Bridge, as many as 500 purposes could possibly be processed there every week.

It is extremely completely different from the best way Nexus interviews are historically carried out in each nations, with candidates sitting for face-to-face interviews carried out collectively by officers from the 2 companies in the identical room.

The method has been working as regular within the US since April, when 13 Nexus facilities south of the border reopened for joint interviews after a two-year hiatus prompted by the pandemic.

Customs and Border Safety, nevertheless, won’t ship brokers to staffing facilities in Canada with out being assured the identical authorized protections they take pleasure in on US soil – a situation that the federal authorities in Canada considers a non-starter.

Officers with CBP have to this point declined to remark publicly on the dispute.

The deadlock became a full-blown diplomatic row in October when Kirsten Hillman, the US envoy to Canada, stated this system was “on maintain” to a unilateral try to renegotiate the bilateral pre-release settlement underneath which Nexus was established.

Enterprise leaders and elected officers in each nations have urged either side to discover a answer, describing Nexus as an necessary element of cross-border commerce and business relations between Canada and the US.

That features a coalition of US lawmakers — Higgins, Rep. Invoice Huizenga (R-Mich.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) – who wrote to their Canadian counterparts earlier this month.

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